The Lottery and Other Stories

The Lottery

Lines 85–104: Explain the pacing in this section and its overall effect on the story

"Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her through: two or three people said in voices just loud enough to be heard across the crowd, "Here comes your, Missus, Hutchinson," and "Bill, she made it after all." Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully, "Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie." Mrs. Hutchinson said grinning, "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you. Joe?," and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson's arrival. "Well, now." Mr. Summers said soberly, "Guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go back to work. Anybody ain't here?" "Dunbar." several people said. "Dunbar. Dunbar." Mr. Summers consulted his list. "Clyde Dunbar" he said. "That's right. He's broke his leg, hasn't he? Who's drawing for him?" "Me. I guess," a woman said and Mr. Summers turned to look at her. "Wife draws for her husband.", Mr. Summers said, "Don't you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey?" Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally"

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This short section almost walks us through the crowd awaiting the officla drawing. The author gives us a close-up look at the townspeople using minimal sentences and quick movements that if physically experienced would take place in mere seconds. The effect is one of anticipation on the part of the reader, we look forward to what's coming, even if we don't yet understand what's going to happen.


The Lottery